Last year Dale Earnhardt, Jr. left his father's team when he and his sister Kelly did not get majority interest in the team the late Dale Earnhardt had built to leave to his children. This came after heated discussions and feuding with his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, who refused to give her stepchildren majority ownership.
Now it appears no Earnhardt will have the company.
Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting that Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Jr.'s stepmother and owner of DEI, has called upon the services of Bear, Stearns and Company to sell the company.
Who's interested? According to reports, Max Siegel, President of Global Operations at DEI, is very anxious to buy the entire company, not just majority interest. It also states that Earnhardt is tired of the spotlight and simply wants to get out.
Teresa Earnhardt will still hold onto licensing rights to "Dale Earnhardt" and "Intimidator" merchandise.
My question, and I'm sure a lot of people are asking the same thing, is why the heck did Teresa go through all that with Junior just to leave the next year?
Well, a lot of things could have contributed. First of all, the team is struggling for sponsors. Budweiser left the team in 2007 and now it's being said that Menards, who sponsors Paul Menard's No. 15, is also leaving.
Max Siegel has also said the team may be forced to shut down the No. 1 of Reagan Smith if sponsorship isn't found.
Additionally, DEI may be losing two drivers next year. Mark Martin has already announced he's leaving his part time gig in the No. 8 Chevy to drive full-time in 2009 with Hendrick Motorsports. Martin Truex, Jr. has been a constant in Silly Season rumors, as he's said to be extremely upset with the performance of his team.
Teresa Earnhardt has also been the recipient of some very harsh criticism. Kevin Harvick called her a "deadbeat" owner in January 2007, saying she was never at the track and just wanted to make money off her stepson and late husband. The media also began a frenzy about her when she said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wasn't a caliber championship driver.
A merger with Ginn last year looked to be a good starting point for the already struggling team. Paul Menard was up in points, ARMY replaced Budweiser when they left at the end of the season, and things definitely looked good for the team going into 2008.
But looks can be very deceiving.
This season Dale Earnhardt, Inc. drivers have racked up two top fives, five top 10s, and three DNFs.
Something inside me keeps saying Dale Earnhardt's dream is becoming nothing more than NASCAR's memory.
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